Top 10 Museums with Outdoor Spaces

Top 10 Museums with Outdoor Spaces

A family trip to the museum is a wonderful way to combine outdoor adventure with learning new things and has lots of other benefits – from boosting language development to encouraging new ideas. Discover our favourite museums with outdoor spaces in the UK.

Read on if you are looking for exciting activities for this weekend, and discover our top 10 outdoor museums to visit with your children.

Children playing in woodland wearing Muddy Puddles waterproofs

1) Horniman Museum and Gardens, London

The Horniman Museum in Forest Hill is a brilliant anthropological museum with lovely landscaped gardens where your little ones can run free and explore. Visit the breath-taking 16 acres of Gardens, perfect for spotting urban wildlife or just relaxing. Before leaving, say hello to the famous stuffed walrus – you surely will not miss this giant as it is sitting in the very centre of the main exhibition hall.

2) Beamish – The Living Museum of the North, Beamish, County Durham

Beamish, the world-famous open-air museum, is the perfect place to discover what life was like in North East England during the 1820s, 1900s and 1940s. It is a fascinating living museum set in 300 acres so prepare to walk a lot! Head to Beamish to spend an exciting day out with your family – visit the 1900s Town, discover the 1900s Pit Village, explore the 1900s colliery, see Rowley Station as it looked it Edwardian times and, last but not least, visit the 1940s farm. The museum is huge and walking from one section to another might take some time. Make sure you bring waterproof jackets and wellies - we all know how unpredictable British weather can be. 

3) Weald & Downland Living Museum, Chichester, West Sussex

The Weald and Downland Living Museum is an open-air museum with a 40-acre site where you can discover rescued rural buildings and learn more about how people lived and worked. There are more than 50 buildings to visit – shops, workers’ cottages, a watermill and many more. 

Boy sitting on log wearing Muddy Puddles waterproof puddlesuit

4) Natural History Museum, London

Natural History Museum is the perfect place to discover the urban flora and fauna. Visit the Wildlife Garden, home to more than 3,000 species. Look out for dragonflies flying around the ponds, spot some unknown and beautiful flowers and finish your day with a visit to the museum. 

5) Black Country Living Museum, Dudley, West Midlands

The Black Country Living Museum is a fantastic 26-acre outdoor museum located in the centre of the Black Country, 10 miles from Birmingham. Built on the former industrial land, the museum tells the story of the industrial revolution and includes over 50 buildings and objects such as school, shops or preserved mine shafts.

6) Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Head to V&A to discover the world of decorative arts and design (it is home to more than 2.3 million objects!) and let your children burn off energy in the fantastic and spacious courtyard. 

Girls in woods wearing Muddy Puddles waterproofs

7) Tyneham Village, Dorset

Tyneham, an abandoned village located on the Dorset coast, is not a museum as such but it is well worth visiting. Evacuated by the army in 1943, Tyneham has remained a ghost town ever since, frozen in time and simply fascinating. Visit the intact church and schoolhouse to learn more about the life of the evacuated villagers. Finish your day with a picnic at Worbarrow Bay located 1 mile (walking) from Tyneham Village.

8) Chiltern Open Air Museum, Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire

This brilliant outdoor museum rescues threatened historic buildings, rebuilds and preserves them in a traditional Chilterns landscape. There are 37 rescued historic buildings that were the workplaces or homes of ordinary people. There is also a working farm where you will be able to say hello to their lovely sheep, cows, goats and chickens and a 45 acre site with its period gardens to visit.

9) St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff

Discover how the people of Wales worked, lived and spent their free time. There are more than 40 buildings rebuilt from different historical periods to explore. For safety reasons, the historic buildings and galleries remain closed, but you can view them from the outside and learn more about their history from the information alongside each property. 

10) Blists Hill Victorian Town, Shropshire

This brilliant, open-air museum built on a former industrial complex is one of the 10 Ironbridge Gorge Museums. Travel back in time and discover more about Victorian life. Meet some "real" Victorians, visit their cottages and shops, watch tradespeople at work and spend a lovely day out with your family.
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